It’s unfortunate that chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer have become increasingly popular among the US population. These diseases compromise your physical and mental well-being while reducing your quality of life. If not well-maintained, they even have the ability to end your life. The good news, however, is that families can easily reduce their risk of developing these conditions.

It goes without saying that you want your family to live a long, happy, and healthy life. Adapting to healthier lifestyle choices is the most efficient way to ensure everyone’s well-being. Below, are a few steps you can take towards reducing your family’s risk of chronic disease.

Learn As Much as You Can

Taking preventative measures against chronic diseases starts with education. In order to properly protect yourself and your family, you must have a full understanding of what the diseases are, how they’re caused, and more importantly, what existing risks do you have of contracting them in the future.

Some of this information can be found with a thorough internet search. For more detailed information on your personal health and existing risks, however, you may want to consider getting bloodwork done with your doctor. Taking a medical DNA test, is also an option. The DNA test results will give you insight on your familial medical history. You can learn whether there is a history of these diseases in your family and whether or not you carry the genes that increase your risk of getting them yourself.

Cut Out Bad Habits

Everyone has bad habits, but there are some actions that can cause real harm to your physical or mental well-being. If you drink heavily, smoke cigarettes, or use drugs, for instance, these are bad habits you want to stop right away. The continued use causes chemical changes in the mind and body that can result in the development of chronic diseases. Other bad habits you might consider ditching is skipping breakfast, sitting around all day, eating junk food, and not getting enough sleep.

Eat as Clean as Possible

Unfortunately, a lot of the food and beverage products on the market today aren’t good for you. There are a lot of chemicals, additives, and other ingredients that are used to generate mass amounts of products for sale. These ingredients, when consumed on a daily basis break down your body. Too much processed, fried, sweet, or salty food can quickly lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.

You can protect your family by eating as clean as possible. Clean eating is essentially the idea of eating fresh ingredients. Start incorporating lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, lean meats, and complex carbs into your family’s diet. It may not sound as great as a kid’s meal or some Chinese food, there are lots of great clean recipes online you can try to make it taste even better.

Deal with Stress Head On

Stress is so common these days that most people don’t realize how much damage it can do to their health. While some stress is to be expected, when you’re under continue stress it increases your risk of developing chronic diseases. Think about it. When you’re stressed, you don’t sleep as well, you start comfort eating, some people self-medicate, you become mentally overwhelmed, your personal and professional life unravels, and self-care becomes the last thing on your mind. Each of these symptoms is a gateway to developing life-threatening diseases.

When you feel signs that you’re too stressed out it’s important to deal with it head-on. Start by identifying what the triggers are. Then, look for solutions to reduce tension. If you’re overworked, for example, talk with your employer about delegating certain tasks to other coworkers to lighten your load. If you need more help with the kids, then ask your significant other or family members to chip in and help out on occasion. If you can’t find the source of your stress or still feel overwhelmed after trying to resolve it on your own, you may need to speak with a therapist to get things sorted out.

There’s so much about life to see, do, and explore and your health and wellness are the keys to conquering it all. If you want to keep your family happy and healthy, start making wise lifestyle choices that help to greatly reduce your chances of developing chronic diseases. Taking these measures now ensures your loved ones develop healthy habits that allow them to enjoy life to the fullest.